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Financial Planning Strategies for Caregivers and Their Parents

Sheryl felt a mix of surprise and relief when her father, at age 68, revealed that he had taken important steps in his legal and financial planning. He had established a durable power of attorney and advance care directives, ensuring that his affairs would be managed properly if he ever became unable to do so himself. Now, at 88 and in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, Sheryl’s family is spared significant emotional and financial stress thanks to his foresight.

Certified Financial Planner Larry Botzman, Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC) and board member of the Financial Planners of America, encounters many families who are not as prepared as Sheryl's. "What is at risk is the adult children's inheritance," Botzman explains. "If the parents' life savings go toward paying for a nursing home, then there is nothing left to leave the children, which can be heartbreaking for the parents."

This scenario underscores the importance of starting to plan now for your own future care. Research from the University of Kentucky's College of Human Environmental Services found that only 40 percent of people think seriously about retirement, and a staggering 77 percent feel they are saving too little and are poorly prepared for it. The caregiving experience often heightens awareness about one's own retirement needs, making it an ideal time for caregivers to seek guidance on retirement planning.

3 Financial Strategies for Caregivers and Their Parents

Botzman recommends three key strategies that caregivers should consider for both their own finances and those of their aging parents:

Power of Attorney (POA)

  • A POA allows an individual to appoint an "agent" to make legal, financial, and health decisions when they are no longer able to do so. This document might enable the caregiver to pay bills, manage assets, or even sell an elderly parent's home. There are two types of POA: financial and medical. One child can be designated for both, or two siblings can each be responsible for one type. Gifting

  • A gifting clause in a POA document is crucial, as it permits the agent to gift or transfer money, personal property, or real estate. Some clients gift their home to their children while still living there, known as a life estate. This allows parents to live in their home for life without the risk of it being taken to pay for medical expenses. Long-Term Care Insurance

  • Long-term care insurance helps cover the costs of health care services, ensuring that individuals can choose their care services and location. Early planning is essential; the best rates and service ranges are available when one is healthy, typically in middle age. Caregivers can also purchase this insurance for their parents, but cost is a significant consideration for many seniors. Botzman suggests checking with employers, as more are offering this benefit with reasonable group rates.

Initiating the Financial Planning Discussion

Discussing financial planning can be challenging, often referred to as "the grey elephant in the room." However, opening the lines of communication is vital. One approach is to reference a news article or a topic you've read about, such as saying, "I read about long-term care insurance yesterday. Do you know about this?" Another strategy is to share your own retirement and long-term care plans with your parents, which can help break the ice.

Regardless of how the conversation starts, planning ahead for financial and care needs can significantly reduce stress during difficult times. Since financial planning laws and insurance programs vary widely by location, it is crucial to seek advice from local experts before making significant decisions.

For more information about how AmoryCare can help, please contact us:

Phone: 908-854-3220

Fax: 908-854-3221

Service Areas:

Union County, NJ: Berkeley Heights, Summit, Linden, Scotch Plains, Westfield, Murray Hill, Plainfield, Mountainside, Garwood, Clark, New Providence, Elizabeth, Roselle Park, Winfield, Kenilworth, Vauxhall, Cranford, Springfield, Union, Fanwood.

Morris County, NJ: Bernardsville, Boonton, Brookside, Budd Lake, Butler, Califon, Cedar Knolls, Chatham, Chester, Denville, Dover, East Hanover, Far Hills, Flanders, Florham Park, Gillette, Greenvillage, Hibernia, Ironia, Kenvil, Lake Hopatcong, Landing, Ledgewood, Lincoln Park, Long Valley, Madison, Mendham, Millington, Montville, Morris Plains, Morristown, Mt. Arlington, Mt. Freedom, Mt. Tabor, Mountain Lakes, Netcong, New Vernon, Newfoundland, Oak Ridge, Parsippany, Pequannock, Picatinny Arsenal, Pine Brook, Pompton Plains, Port Murray, Randolph, Riverdale, Rockaway, Schooley’s Mountain, Stirling, Succasunna, Towaco, Wharton, Whippany.

Essex County, NJ: Livingston, Roseland, Essex Fells, West Orange, South Orange, Short Hills, Millburn, Maplewood, Montclair, Verona, Cedar Grove, Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Belleville, Nutley, West Caldwell, Fairfield, Irvington, Newark, East Orange.

Bergen County, NJ: Allendale, Alpine, Bergenfield, Bogota, Carlstadt, Cliffside Park, Closter, Cresskill, Demarest, Dumont, East Rutherford, Edgewater, Elmwood Park, Emerson, Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, Fair Lawn, Fairview, Fort Lee, Franklin Lakes, Garfield, Glen Rock, Hackensack (county seat), Harrington Park, Hasbrouck Heights, Haworth, Hillsdale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Leonia, Little Ferry, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Mahwah, Maywood, Midland Park, Montvale, Moonachie, New Milford, North Arlington, Northvale, Norwood, Oakland, Old Tappan, Oradell, Palisades Park, Paramus, Park Ridge, Ramsey, Ridgefield, Ridgefield Park, Ridgewood, River Edge, River Vale, Rochelle Park, Rockleigh, Rutherford, Saddle Brook, Saddle River, South Hackensack, Teaneck, Tenafly, Teterboro, Upper Saddle River, Waldwick, Wallington, Washington Township, Westwood, Wood-Ridge, Woodcliff Lake, and Wyckoff.

Passaic County, NJ: Bloomingdale, Clifton, Haledon, Hawthorne, Little Falls, North Haledon, Passaic, Paterson, Pompton Lakes, Prospect Park, Ringwood, Totowa, Wanaque, Wayne, West Milford, Woodland Park.


What is Long-Term Care Insurance?

Long-term care insurance is specifically designed to cover the costs of services such as nursing homes, assisted living, and home health car

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